Feeds

1.3 million phones found down back of the sofa in UK

Although not all in the same one, obviously

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More than half of mobiles reported stolen in the UK later turn up down the back of the sofa or somewhere similar, according to the UK Home Office.

Last week we asked the Home Office what happens to the 1.3 million handsets that they had told us were reported stolen, but don't appear in the official crime figures. Now we know - they turn up later, safe and sound.

The figures came in response to our coverage of the latest schemes to reduce mobile-phone crime, which were sponsored by The Technology Strategy Board*. They included a tag which bleeps if your handset is more than a few meters away, and a system that requests a PIN when the SIM is changed.

Those ideas were promoted with the information that 228 phones are reported stolen every hour in the UK, which adds up to around 2m phones every year. But Home Office statistics put the number of handsets stolen at 700,000, so we lodged a question about what happens to the other 1.3m handsets, but didn't get a reply in time for publication.

Well - now we know, apparently every year 1.3 million people in the UK report their phone stolen, then find it down the back of the sofa the following day.

There is an alternative explanation of course: the 228-per-hour is based on insurance claims, while 700,000 thefts are recorded by the police. It occurs to us that some people might be claiming for phones without reporting them stolen: perhaps even because they weren't stolen. That's not the kind of crime that tags, PINs or any other technological developments can solve.

They also wouldn't help with "mobile phone identity fraud", which the same promotion told us had "risen by 74% in the first half of 2009". We weren't at all clear what that entailed, except that no-one was dressing up as an iPhone.

We've now been advised that this crime involves people buying phone contracts under false names, thus getting the subsidised handset and not paying the monthly fee.

So it seems that the majority of mobile phone crime involves insurance fraud and people nicking stuff from shops, neither of which is going to be solved by the technology presented, and sponsored, by the HM Government. ®

* Which is, in turn, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.